NEW YORK, Nov. 7, 2002 - Fifth Avenue and East 57th Street in New York City share first place as the world's most expensive retail location in this year's edition of Main Streets Across the World, an annual report by Cushman & Wakefield, the global real estate services firm. With rents per square foot at US$700, the New York retail destination that stretches from 52nd to 58th Streets on Fifth Avenue and then along East 57th Street to where it meets Madison Avenue is 20 percent more expensive than Paris' Avenue des Champs Elysées. Meanwhile, rents on Madison Avenue, at US$650 per square foot, were the fastest growing in the US, showing an increase of 25 percent. David M. Gialanella, executive vice president, National Retail Services in Cushman & Wakefield's New York World Headquarters, said: "Despite the events of 9/11 and the slowing US economy, the top New York retail areas have experienced improved fortunes in 2002. This is against a fall in demand for retail space in secondary areas. "The key Manhattan streets of Fifth Avenue, East 57th and Madison Avenue have enjoyed a renaissance as the world-class destination of international luxury retail," he added. Main Streets Across the World 2002 shows the results of monitoring rental levels in 221 key shopping destinations in 44 countries around the world between June 2001 and June 2002. The least expensive of the world's 44 most expensive retail locations is the Latvian capital of Riga - a retailers' bargain compared with New York, with rents at a mere US$39 per square foot. On a worldwide basis, the location with the highest rental growth between June 2001 and June 2002 is in central Kuwait City, with an increase of 180 percent. This is due to the opening of Western-standard malls. Rents in the traditional retail areas have remained largely unchanged. The biggest decrease, of up to 75 percent, was witnessed in Argentina, which has been hit by continuing economic crises. The junction of East 57th and Fifth Avenue is one of the world's most famous shopping corners. One corner is taken up by the new Louis Vuitton flagship store, which opens in 2003, while the other corners are occupied by Tiffany's, Bulgari and Van Cleef & Arpels. On Fifth Avenue, new names this year include Boucheron and De Beers. Existing brands including Asprey & Garrard, Ermenegildo Zegna, and Façonnable, have committed to major expansions and relocations of the Avenue. East 57th has become home to Christian Dior and Jil Sander. Burberry has expanded on East 57th Street. Madison Avenue was the choice for Swarovski's New York flagship store and has seen French country luxury retailer Pierre Deux triple the size of its store on the Avenue. Graff, Breguet, Jean-Paul Gaultier, DiModolo, Gucci, and Chanel have arrived on Madison Avenue. In the Americas, the biggest rise is Oscar Freire Jardins shopping center in São Paulo, with rents rising 48 percent; in Asia, Seoul's Kangam Station, 41 percent; and in Europe, in the Portuguese city of Porto, Avenida de Boavista, 34 percent. After the Middle East and Africa region, Europe has shown the biggest regional increases in retail rents, with growth of around 3 percent increasing to 6 per cent for the Euro-zone countries. Table Of "The World's Most Expensive Shopping Streets"